DALLAS — A man from the Republic of Singapore, who was convicted in 2010 of supporting terrorists in Sri Lanka with weapons, was deported Wednesday by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) after serving a nearly four years in federal prison for his crimes.
Balraj Naidu, 51, departed Dallas Dec. 16 and arrived in Singapore Wednesday under escort by ERO officers.
Naidu was extradited into the United States from Singapore Dec. 18, 2009 so he could be criminally prosecuted for the following offenses: conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, money laundering, attempted export of firearms and munitions, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He was convicted in the District of Maryland Dec. 16, 2010 for Conspiracy to Violate the Arms Export Control Act and sentenced to 57 months in federal prison.
In preparation for his deportation, Naidu was released to ICE custody Nov. 8, 2013.
"Dallas ERO has a strong Criminal Alien Program that routinely identifies convicted felons in prison who are removable," said Simona L. Flores, field office director for ERO Dallas. "ERO takes them into ICE custody when they complete their sentences and remove them to their country of origin as soon as possible. As a convicted felon, Mr. Naidu is prohibited from re-entering the United States."
"This long-term undercover investigation kept sophisticated U.S. weaponry from the hands of terrorists," said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William Winter. "As this investigation demonstrated, Homeland Security Investigations has no tolerance for international arms brokers looking to equip terrorist organizations with advanced American weaponry and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target individuals bent on violating U.S. export laws."
According to evidence presented at Naidu's five day trial, beginning in February 2006, Naidu and his co-conspirators attempted to purchase state-of-the-art weaponry from China, Thailand, North Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia for the terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) operating within Sri Lanka, to be used to fight against Sri Lankan government forces. Several arms merchants refused to supply the Tamil Tigers with weaponry once the destination for the arms had been disclosed by Naidu and his associates. In April 2006, Naidu's Indonesian sources for weapons unwittingly introduced Naidu and his associates to an agent for an undercover business in Maryland that purported to sell military weapons.
The evidence showed that in the subsequent months, the conspirators' negotiations with the undercover agent centered on the acquisition of American made weaponry. Terms of the sale included delivery of the weapons to locations in international waters off the coast of Sri Lanka. The weaponry was to be off-loaded by the Sea Tigers, the naval branch of the Tamil Tigers. A co-conspirator, Haniffa Bin Osman, visited Baltimore in the summer of 2006, where he examined and test-fired much of the weaponry. As a result of the trip, Tamil Tiger representatives wire transferred $250,000 into the undercover business' accounts as a down payment on a $900,000 weapons deal. About 28 tons of weapons and ammunition, which the conspirators believed they were purchasing, was airlifted to the U.S. territory of Guam. On Sept. 29, 2006, after inspecting the weapons and transferring an additional $450,000 into the undercover business' accounts, Naidu's four co-conspirators were arrested and indicted. The investigation continued and led to the indictment of Naidu and an alleged Tamil Tigers financier on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to the Tamil Tigers and related offenses.
Founded in 1976, the Tamil Tigers has advocated the violent overthrow of the Sri Lankan government, employing acts of violence, including suicide bombings, against both civilian and military targets. About 200 such attacks have been attributed to the Tamil Tigers to date. The Tamil Tigers relies heavily upon supporters throughout the world to raise and launder money, acquire intelligence and purchase military use technology. The U.S. Department of State designated the Tamil Tigers as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in1997. As such, the Tamil Tigers cannot legally raise money or procure operational equipment in the United States.